Plastics Recycling Markets

After riding high since last fall – even hitting an all-time record – the price of natural HDPE bales decreased 8% this month. 

The national average price of natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs has dropped to 54.81 cents per pound, compared with 59.47 cents this time last month. The January average, which was up slightly from the month before, was a record high. This grade traded at 35.19 cents per pound one year ago.

The national average price of PET beverage bottles and jars is currently 9.91 cents per pound, compared to 10.65 cents per pound in early January 2020. (Note: The February price is lower than it would otherwise be because of a change in Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) Index’s methodology. The SMP Index has introduced a “Premium PET” grade that includes deposit program PET and special-sorted PET, with prices currently ranging from 16.00 cents to 20.00 cents. Moving these higher-value bales out of the “PET beverage bottles and jars” category artificially lowered the average price of PET in that category; however, the price is now more representative of curbside programs across all regions.)

The national average price of color HDPE dropped again this month, now trading at 8.38 cents per pound, compared with 12.53 cents per pound last month.

The national average price of polypropylene remains unchanged this month, at 5.81 cents per pound. One year ago, this grade was trading at 12.47 cents per pound.

The national average price of Grade A film is up marginally this month, from 8.44 cents per pound to its current level of 8.94 cents per pound. Grade B film is lower at 4.13 cents per pound, compared with 4.56 cents per pound this time last month. Grade C film remains unchanged at 1.38 cents per pound.

These prices are as reported on the Secondary Materials Pricing (SMP) Index. This pricing represents what is being paid for post-consumer recyclable materials in a sorted, baled format, picked up at most major recycling centers. 

For a free trial to SMP’s Online Post-Consumer Pricing Index, visit the Recycling Markets website. You can also contact Christina Boulanger-Bosley at [email protected] or 330-956-8911.

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